Joe thought things were a bit strange when he came home and found his roommate had a selection of guns spread out on the table and was cleaning them.
He didn't know there were any guns in the house, and he calmly asked his roommate what was going on.
He'll never forget what his roommate said: "I guess I never told you. The day will come when every man must fight to the death. The difference between you and me is that you are a lamb and I am the wolf."
Joe is not the Lawrence man's real name. He didn't want to have his name printed because of apprehension about how his former roommate might react.
He said he got along with his roommate and thought he knew him well. But the incident with the guns made him nervous.
THAT WAS three years ago, and Joe has had no problems with the roommates he's had since. He has found roommates by advertising in the newspaper and says he trusts that method because he figures he can screen out potential problems.
He said he thinks he has a sense for understanding what people are like and simply talks to each prospective roommate for a few hours. He said he's straightforward about his likes and dislikes.
Still, finding the perfect roommate can be a tricky process. A current Hollywood production points that out in the extreme. In the film "Single White Female," the main character advertises for a roommate, who ends up being a psychotic killer.
Tonya Claussen, Kansas University senior, has never seen the movie. She said she's advertising for a roommate because her roommate wants to move to Minneapolis to be with her boyfriend.
Claussen has always been adventurous when it comes to finding a roommate. Once she asked a former neighbor to be her roommate, after talking to her only once.
"I JUST knew I needed a place to live," she said. "And she seemed normal."
There was only a slight problem. The woman was from Iran, and Claussen thinks she must never have gotten used to Kansas winters because she would turn the thermostat up as high as it would go. In the middle of the night, feeling as if she would suffocate, Claussen would turn it down.
Finally Claussen explained to her that the house was too hot and the heating bill was getting expensive. So then the woman started turning the oven on broil.
Claussen laughs about the incident, and says it never really made her angry.
"I'm only going to be here for three more months anyway, so I figure I can handle anything for that long," she said.
Stephanie Podzimek, a KU junior, remembers some roommate trials and tribulations when she was a freshman at a junior college in Missouri. She went through three roommates her first semester.
THE FIRST woman was assigned to the room with her, but moved to a different floor of their residence hall with a friend. Two months later, a woman moved in whom Podzimek described as "mentally messed up" from a car accident she'd been in.
"She was really obsessed about getting this guy for this lawsuit," she said. "She was really weird."
But Podzimek didn't have to deal with it for long, because the woman dropped out of school.
Podzimek is direct about describing her third roommate: "She was a geek,'' she said. With a few weeks left in the semester, Podzimek got fed up and moved home.
When she came to Lawrence in August, she met a woman who worked in the office of an apartment complex who also needed a roommate. After a short talk, the women decided to move in together.
That has worked well, Podzimek said, because the women are both from small towns, are in their first semester at KU, and are easygoing.
"IT'S WORKED out from having the same experiences," she said.
But now the woman needs to move out because she can't afford the apartment. And the roommate search is on for Podzimek again.
She's seen "Single White Female" and says she finds it a bit strange to be advertising for a roommate.
"Of course it came out the year I decided to go for the ad-in-the-paper type thing," she said.
Podzimek thinks she can tell after talking to someone for a few minutes whether they'll be able to get along. And she wants to be picky.
"I'm not going to live with anybody that I can't get along with, be happy with," she said.